First to Die

First to Die : Chilling. Edgy. Thrilling.

3.62 (103 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Bonfire Night and St James's Park is filled with thousands of Anonymous protesters in a stand-off with the police. When a cloaked, Guido Fawkes mask-wearing body is discovered the following morning, Kate Riley and Zain Harris from the Police Crime Commissioner's office are called in.

The corpse has been eaten away by a potentially lethal and highly contagious virus. The autopsy reveals the victim was a senior civil servant, whose work in international development involved saving lives. Why would anyone want him dead?


As the research team looking into the origins of the deadly virus scramble to discover an antidote, first one, then another pharmacist goes missing. Meanwhile, a dark truth starts to emerge about the murder victim: he was an aggressive man, whose bullying behaviour resulted in the suicide attempt of one of his former staff members.


With thirty lives potentially at stake, Kate and Zain have their work cut out for them. Can they find the two missing pharmacists in time, or will they too end up dead?

'A twisty, turny journey that is full or surprises' ANGELA MARSONS

'Scarily relevant' LISA HALL

'A rocketing good read' VASEEM KHAN
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 21mm | 269g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1785761889
  • 9781785761881
  • 1,458,903

Review quote

A twisty, turny journey that is full of surprises and leaves no-one unscathed. The writing is compelling, breathtaking, immersive and at times heart stopping. The pace is fast and kept me reading from the second I started until I had devoured the lot. Simply stunning * Angela Marsons * Another brilliant offering from Alex Caan. Scarily relevant, First To Die makes for exciting, compelling reading, guaranteed to have readers racing to the end * Lisa Hall * This second entry in the Zain Harris/Kate Riley series starts off with the horror-scenario that so many of us dread - a possible CBRNe attack in London - specifically a mutated virus worse than anything we have seen. Alex Caan keeps the story moving at breakneck pace, with short punchy chapters, leading us inexorably into a maze of twists. A rocketing good read * Vaseem Khan * Rip-roaring up to the minute page-turner * Marnie Riches * Wow, what a chilling page-turner . . . right up my street. Slick, fast and current * Vicky Newham * Topical, thrilling and full of surprises. Caan has delivered another punchy tale with a cracker of an ending * Susi Holliday * With high stakes and high action, this page turner twists and turns at breakneck speed from the first page to the last. First To Die is an absolute must read for thriller fans * Steph Broadribb * Sharply plotted and bitingly realistic, First to Die is a cleverly topical thriller with palm-sweating tension in every page. Once again, Alex Caan brilliantly captures the human flaws and foibles behind smart detective work, delivering page-turning intrigue with a heart-thumping sense of deadly threat * Samantha King * A murder mystery story with a modern twist. Enjoyable read * TIMES + on Cut to the Bone * Pacy, intriguing debut from a Manc who knows his stuff * JON WISE, The Sport, on Cut to the Bone * Impressively plotted and well written, this is both a chilling tale and highly enjoyable book * Live and Deadly * Alex Caan has written a gripping, fast-paced crime thriller. He kept me guessing all the way through... The plot is complex, steeped in science and politics, with plenty of twists, turns and surprises throughout - and a few 'heart in the mouth' moments too * Off-The-Shelf Books * First to Die is a complex novel that does require a certain level of concentration, but trust me, it's worth it * The Welsh Librarian * Pacing in the book is perfect, balancing the frustrations of waiting for science to do its thing, against the need to keep things moving in terms of the investigation. The author has created light and shade perfectly, moments of reflection from the characters, when their personal life comes to the fore, balanced against the tense action of the investigation and the ongoing murders. And despite the complexity of the subjects discussed, he has made the book very accessible without trivialising either the idea of terrorism or sensationalising it or the reasons behind it. It feels authentic and it draws the reader in, keeping them on the hook as each new development unfolds. So many suspects, so many possibilities. So many reasons to keep reading. I loved it * Jen Med Book Reviews * The characters were intriguing as they worked together to find out what happened, with hints at their pasts brought neatly into the story... nothing about this book was predictable or boring * Sal's World Of Books * a very clever novel... Alex certainly gets the intrigue going and he kept me turning the pages as we raced towards the conclusion * Hooked from Page One * If you like your police procedurals to be fast and furious with plenty of twists then this is the book to read * Joy Kluver *
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About Alex Caan

Alex Caan was born in Manchester, and has spent over a decade working in Information Systems Security for a number of government organisations, and is currently specialising in Terrorism Studies. A lifetime passion for writing was sparked by the encouraging words of an English Teacher in school, and eventually led to Alex successfully completing an MA in Creative Writing. Alex's debut Cut to the Bone was described as a 'pacy, intriguing debut' by Jon Wise and 'chillingly authentic' by bestselling author Lisa Hall.
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Rating details

103 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 20% (21)
4 33% (34)
3 37% (38)
2 8% (8)
1 2% (2)
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